New Minn. sport requires ‘herd work’

There is a new sport in the area of which not everyone is aware. That new sport is called Ranch Sorting and is held at the Battle River Arena, located 1.5 miles west of Kelliher. The arena is owned by Jeff and Dianna Thurlow of Kelliher.

Ranch Sorting is a relatively new equine sport to northern Minnesota and whether you have done it before or never chased a cow, it doesn’t matter. It makes no difference where your skill level is as this sport only takes a well broke or trained horse and a willingness to have a good time!

The Thurlows will assist and coach you to learn the sport while enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow horseman or woman. If you have questions or need help with the sport be sure to ask as they are more than willing to help or answer any questions you may have.

What is Ranch Sorting? Cowpunching at its best.

Ranch Sorting is taking the ranch work of sorting cattle and establishing a set of rules to create a fun and exciting competition.

Here’s how it works:

1. A team consists of two riders.
2. There is 10 head of cattle in the round pen numbered 0 through 9.
3. The start/foul line is a 12-16 ft. opening between the two pens of equal size. Approximately 50-60 ft.
4. There is a 60-to-90 second time limit.
5. The cattle are bunched in the center of the pen on the back wall before the run begins.
6. A designated starting number will be announced and time will begin when the nose of the first horse crosses the start/foul line.
7. The team must sort the cattle in numerical order beginning with the designated starting number. A cow is considered sorted when the cow is completely across the start/foul line. If any part of a sorted cow re-crosses the start/foul line the team will be disqualified. If any part of a cow that is out of numerical sequence crosses the start/foul line the team will be disqualified.

This sport requires herd work and you will gain the ability to read cattle. It takes teamwork as well, with things constantly shifting and team members rotating from the gate position, making the cut in the herd and turning back the cattle as the situation calls for.

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